PHILADELPHIA (AP) If RG3’s days in Washington are nearing an end, he won’t have to look far to find a coach that appreciates his talent.
Chip Kelly will watch from the opposite sideline Saturday.
Robert Griffin III is back as the starting quarterback for the Redskins (3-11) when they host the Philadelphia Eagles (9-5).
Listening to Kelly rave about Griffin suggests he would rather his team faced Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, whose injury allowed Griffin to return under center.
”I know he can run and I know he can throw,” Kelly said. ”That’s what we’re preparing for. We’re preparing for the best. He can run the zone-read play and you better be conscious of the guy coming off the disconnect.
”It’s different than Tony Romo. When Tony Romo turns and hands the ball off to DeMarco Murray, you’re not worried about Tony running out the backside. When RG3 turns and hands the ball off, you better be worried about him running out the backside.”
Griffin ran for 815 yards, threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns to only five interceptions in a sensational rookie season in 2012 when he led the Redskins to an NFC East title. But he tore the ACL in his right knee in a playoff loss that year and dislocated his left ankle earlier this season.
He hasn’t been the same player since his injuries and was benched by coach Jay Gruden a few weeks ago. The Redskins are 4-14 in games Griffin has started since opening 2013 with a home loss to Philadelphia in Kelly’s NFL debut.
Still, the Eagles are wary of Griffin.
”If you’re not aware of where RG3 is, he can hurt you with his legs and his arm,” Kelly said. ”We got to be really sharp in our contain when we rush the quarterback because he’s a different element than we’ve seen except for Russell Wilson and you saw what happened to us. I thought we did a really good job at times in defending Seattle, and then all of a sudden Russell just extended plays and continued to make things happen.”
Griffin is 2-2 against the Eagles with a 101.4 passer rating, 10 TD passes and two interceptions in those four games.
”Last week, he looked a lot more confident and looser than earlier in the year,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. ”It looks like the time off has done his legs a lot of good. He’s moving pretty well, has a lot more confidence in his throws. You can tell he’s been a lot more decisive.”
The Eagles are desperate to keep their playoff hopes alive after consecutive homes losses to Seattle and Dallas. They can finish 11-5 and miss the playoffs unless the Cowboys lose one game or the Packers or Lions or Seahawks lose two.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are playing the spoiler role in another miserable season. They’re heading toward their ninth last-place finish since owner Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999.
It doesn’t mean the Eagles will take the Redskins lightly.
”The pressure’s kind of off,” Jenkins said. ”(Griffin) doesn’t have a lot to lose. He actually looks better. We expect to get his best. This is an opportunity at the end of the year for him to put some good tape out there and finish on a good note.”
And perhaps impress a potential new team. Considering Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez were inconsistent this year, Kelly could have interest in bringing Griffin to Philadelphia.
That’s a topic for the offseason.
”That kid is athletic as heck and he can run really, really well,” Kelly said.
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